The TallyThe Tally11 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
She sits on her pink bed staring at the dinner plate she has put on the floor next to the puke-green garbage can. Dinner tonight is a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich, a typical college student meal, but she stares at it like it is the most appetizing thing she has ever seen. Her eyes shine with longing, and a small string of saliva starts to slide down the corner of her mouth. Snapping out of her daze, she wipes her mouth and stares down at the glossy red film on her hand. She averts her gaze to the pack of Djarum cloves sitting on her dresser on the opposite side of the room from her garbage can. Cigarettes. Food. Cigarettes. Food. Cigarettes. Food. Her head, as well as her mind, turn back and forth like she is watching a little green ball at a tennis match. Just a bite. One bite won't hurt.
Purpose DrivenI didnt explode when I struck. My time would come later.Purpose Driven6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
It was 1958. Hundreds of thousands of us fell upon the island of Quemoy. The reasons didnt matter to me. All that mattered was the long, cold barrel, the instant of ignition, the ponderous arc across the Taiwan Strait, and the fall. From a Soviet factory to now, my destiny was to kill.
I didnt explode when I struck. My time would come later.
I waited. Rain and wind piled mud over me. Cold, heat, night, day passed again and again. Then, the claw of a steam shovel, and I saw the sun again.
There was a flatbed truck, and crates, and thousands of my brothers stacked on top of one another. We clattered as the truck bounced along the muddy roads of Kinmen. Our war was over. My time would come later.
There was a bespectacled man, gentle, with a hammer and a practiced arm. I melted in his forge. I folded under his hammer, under his patience. I became thin, hard, and gained an edge that would split
my friend friday My friend Friday spends Tuesday afternoons looking for things that no one else can find. These things are small and blend with the everyday so suitably, that they elude most of us, even after our morning coffee or cigarette. But invariably Friday finds them with ease, and sets them upon my doorstep every Wednesday morning, pawing at my breakfast with his fresh wonders.my friend friday8 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
I saw a boy die yesterday! He howls, the door slamming behind him. He is not in the same room as I; he is yelling this across my house at 5:30am, eliciting angry grumbles from my somber roommates. Sending the saloons doors clacking and banging, he gushes into our kitchen and tosses a mangled G.I. Joe on the table in front of me. The boy was in the car in front of me. I was driving to work, laughing at NPR, as ya do, and there in front of me, a man was flying, this man! He grins, snatching the disable veteran off the table and waving it in front of me
two of heartsHe propped up two cards, brows furrowed in concentration. The pyramid fell and he started again.two of hearts6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I watched him hopelessly. Where had our love gone?
I reached across and flicked his steady hand. The house of cards came tumbling, tumbling like the two of us falling out of the sky.
The Martyrdom of Saint VivianThe Martyrdom of Saint Vivian6 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The town was just a town like any other in the deep prairie. Its old wizards' tower had survived the revolution and had been converted into a church, marked with a neon Holy Disc that was nearly invisible against the metallic sky. Towering above it, a radio mast swayed gently in the dry breeze.
There was a caravanserai at the edge of town, its clay walls hardened from decades in the hot sun; nevertheless, someone had driven metal poles into them, holding up a billboard: "Food Drinks Rooms Cheap".
The car that pulled into the parking lot outside was a Bakercraft, probably a Model 6 or 7. It resembled the woman who got out of it: both were aging but polished, built with a utilitarian thickness. The woman was wearing a five-dinar dress and a matching summer shawl, and carrying the sort of heavy purse that some women know how to live out of.
The Furnish Is EverythingIt was 183 days ago when Minerva Kisling the Yiddish Mentalist first came to my train station. She toured the Neptune-Aries circuit in vaudeville. I had seen her glossy photographs a few times outside of the Easton theater and The Springhouse when she played there, but I never saw her in person. At least, I never saw her until the locomotive that was supposed to be bringing her husband failed to arrive with said husband.The Furnish Is Everything4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As a redcap for the Southwest Lake Station with a half-dozen sisters, I scarcely could afford the ten cents or the time to see a vaudeville show on a regular basis, but the children working near the tracks would put on cheap imitations of the more popular acts in hopes of getting pennies rained on them. They would dab burnt cork on their cheeks, bug out their eyes, and sing or tell jokes. Often they received the most money when they stopped singing and went back to carrying bags. What the children failed to re-enact, they retold to me on slower days. I was more than pr
Tips On Self-PublishingTips On Self-Publishing10 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Tips On Self-Publishing
I recently decided to self-publish a compilation of my work. It is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but have always put off for several reasons; the imagined cost, basic lethargy in editing the damn thing, and laziness when it came to mail-outs to publishers. If this sounds like you so far, you might be able to benefit from a few things I learned along the way. Below I will discuss almost everything you will need to know before jumping into a self-publishing project, some pitfalls to avoid, and approximately what to expect to come out of your pocket. (I'm talking about money, pervert.)
Once I decided I was definitely going forward with this project, my first step was to find publishing houses/printers that offered the services that I wanted. There are many resources for this, but I found the below link most helpful in finding presses that would actually not only turn around a quote quickly,
The two angels"Twinkle, twinkle little star..."The two angels6 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
"Bright heavens child, stop singing that song, I'm trying to work." I glared at the child, perched on the edge of the sky counting the stars bellow.
"Momma always told me angels have no work." She smiled up at me sweetly, as only a child can.
I shook my head at the misconceptions of humans. "Child, all beings work. An angel doesn't seem to work because generally she enjoys work, which makes it more play than work. What, pray, would we do with our time if we had nothing else to do?"
She turned her face down to the starts again. "Why, sing!" She, indeed, did sing her words.
"And what when all songs have been sung?"
"We dance!" She stood and spun, picking the nearest, brightest flower. One I had just planted.
I shook my head. The children were so innocent, so pure. They had nothing to spoil them, nothing to change them. Their souls had not experienced the winter of adulthood. A grin creeped across my face. "And wh
Beyond Absolution: ProloguePrologue: Sweet Raptured LightBeyond Absolution: Prologue6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
I broke the surface of consciousness like a drowning man. Gasping thin breaths, I strained for air against the angry band of pain that crushed my throat to the width of a narrow reed. My fingers felt as thick as sausages as I dug them into the rope. A weak, phlegmy cough rasped air painfully past my throat, dragging me back towards unconsciousness as the pain threatened to spill over.
Im dying, screamed the wild part of my brain. Im dying Im dying Im dying Im dying!
Darkness blurred the corners of my eyes; coughs wracked my body, doubled me over on the floorboards. My pale, snatched breaths werent enough to save me; they just prolonged the inevitable, kept me conscious as I scrabbled about my neck, tugging desperately at the rope that cut into me like fire. A heavy knot was tied at the base of my skull. With my last reserves of
Chaos TheoryShe tucked her white button down shirt in her knee length skirt, sliding on her full length coat and pristine white fedora, a vision of pale perfection. Walking down to the street, she stopped and suddenly stood nervously in front of the metro station opening. It was now or never, nothing was going to be the same after this.Chaos Theory6 years ago in Science Fiction More Like This
With a burst of adrenaline, she flew down the ominous steps into the station and took her assigned place on the train. Hands shaking, she let her coat drop. This warranted a few curious glances but no one protested as the train lurched away from the subway. Slipping off her dainty lady gloves, she let them drop to the floor as well. The teen next to her gasped. The sparkling neon orange nail polish glowed in the sea of white. Others were staring now, taking notice.
Calmly, she tossed away her cap, letting her chin length obsidian waves fall free, the bright yellow headband smiled under fluttering purple butterflies. Everyone near her jumped back, staring wondrously
Bound to WoodBound to WoodBound to Wood10 years ago in Transgressive More Like This
He'd been doing a lot of that lately. When you are in quite a lot of pain, first you scream, then you cry, then you shiver. So shivering was nothing new to him at this point, but the little girl was.
When she ran her tiny fingertips along his exposed flank, his first thought was that it must have been a drop of sweat running down his side, or maybe a drop of blood. Then he remembered he was no longer upright: he was lying flat on his back, hands and feet bound to wood.
It seemed to him that his body could no longer distinguish between pain and any other type of sensation; where her tiny fingers should have tickled him, they burned on his skin, their softest touch like a hundred thorns ripping into him.
And yet he shivered with pleasure.
He opened his eyes. In the flickering light of a torch, he saw the girl standing next to him. He raised his head as far as the restraints and his weak condition would allow. She could not have been older tha
Gandhi and the WestGandhi and the West5 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Gandhi and the West
Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj [Indian Independence] in November 1909 on a voyage from Britain to South Africa. His arrival in India and leading the Indian Independence movement were still a few years away. This small booklet of 70-odd pages is a scathing attack on western civilization as also on Indian freedom fighters who wanted to resort to violence against the British or those who wanted to create a nation on the lines of the developed West. He was asked in 1936 if he still stood by what he had written in 1909 and he maintained that he did, to a word.
First, a general observation about how Gandhi is perceived in India and how he is perceived in the West. I find a paradoxical similarity between the two understandings. In India quite a few ideological strands find an objectionable aspect of Gandhian thought and they reject him in toto citing that irreconcilable difference in their positions. In the West a particular aspect of the Gandhian thought is picked u
Transdimensional Super TeamNotice: The full length version of this tale, which is far more palatable, is available right here.Transdimensional Super Team4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The magical computer pool glowed. We stood around it like gods.
"Place your palms upon the unimetriscope," said the man in the top hat. "Validate your identities to Her Majesty, the Queen of the Multiverse."
It all seemed a bit hoity-toity to me, but there's a lot to be said for peer pressure when some extra-dimensional fancypants tells you your "peers" are a lady with wings, a James Bond looking guy, a giant robot, and a little girl and her psychic-bondmate, a white pony.
The guy in the top hat called himself Jeremy Flavius Beedle, and he twirled his mustache when he spoke.
He'd found me in San Francisco. I wasn't even working. I was sitting outside the ferry building munching down on a pastry from the shop there when he approached me.
Top hat and cane, fancy suit, and a giant
One Day NewsMrs. Shahar calls this a classroom but we all know it well enough to be a bomb shelter. Thirty small naïve eyes stare at a beautiful journalist on the old television, long brown hair and expensive suit. She reports that a terrorist blew himself up in Beit Lid junction, just a five minute drive from our school. It happened at the big bus station, gray and dirty for so many years, so close its amazing we didnt hear the blast. Although its frightening Im not afraid at all, just glad that there wont be any more classes today.One Day News6 years ago in Biography & Memoir More Like This
The camera focuses on her make-up, curly black eye lashes and powdered cheeks. "Four people died," but all I can hear is "no math homework checkup." She says "authorities are still withholding names," and I hear "no math homework tomorrow either." Then she starts telling the whole thing over again, all the little bits of information the route of infiltration, the name of the bomber, a description of the ar
Madame MuttMadame Mutt11 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"Oh man . . . you've got Madame Mutt . . ."
Confused, I looked down at the name, phone number, and address I'd scribbled down on the back of an envelope: Clarissa Sinclair, 465-4329, 263 Pentecost Street. Putting my elbow on the bar, I turned to face my friend Elvin.
"Whaddaya mean? Who is she?"
"You don't know Madame Mutt? Jeez, you really are new here. Still unbelievable, you've been here over a year and you still don't know about her . . ."
"No, I don't! What the hell'd she do?"
"She's psycho. I can't get over the fact that you don't know the story. I thought everyone here knew it."
"I guess everyone assumed I knew it, so they never bothered to actually tell me; now's your chance. What's this story you're going on about?"
Elvin grinned, drained his beer, and set the empty bottle on the bar top. He motioned to the bartender, indicating he'd like another, and pulled his stool closer to mine. Wary but smiling, he began the tale:
"Alright. Madame Mutt or Ms. Sinclair or whate
General Purpose Complaint FormGeneral Purpose Complaint FormGeneral Purpose Complaint Form5 years ago in Humor More Like This
[ ] Sir,
[ ] Madam,
[ ] Bitch of indeterminate gender upon whom my wrath falls like the unseen hand of a vengeful God,
I am a dissatisfied customer. To wit, I find myself growing steadily more displeased with the:
[ ] product
[ ] services
[ ] sexual relationship
[ ] exotic animal (specify) ______________________
[ ] other (specify) ____________________________
You provided and wish to bring the matter to your attention. To be blunt, the item in question:
[ ] is dangerously defective.
[ ] was ill-conceived, badly designed, and poorly implemented.
[ ] causes itching, swelling, and open sores.
[ ] has eaten the family pet.
While I am:
[ ] of a reasonable state of mind,
[ ] boiling with ill-contained fury,
[ ] concerned for my health and that of those around me,
[ ] terrified beyond reason,
I am willing to attempt a resolution that does not involve:
[ ] litigation.
[ ] murdering every employee at your business and their fami
The World, UnknownWhen the desert raiders stormed the city's church they did not burn the Bibles, theological texts, or illuminated manuscripts. Instead they burned the maps.The World, Unknown6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
Your maps, they said, are the feeble representations of shadows. They are veils behind which nothing lies, for the physical world, like the metaphysical, is ever-shifting and torrential.
For the priests, witnesses reported, it could not have been worse. They fell and moaned.
Throughout that year strange earthquakes troubled the deserts of New Mexico. A traveler passing through the region noted, "It seemed that every morning the Earth would groan and shift beneath our feet, as if tired and weary, as if our steps disturbed its slumber. The studied men spoke of the fall of Atlas . . . Our charts did not hold up. Landmarks rose and fell, were swallowed up by some intangible whim. It is miraculous that we escaped the borders of the State at all."
Not without correlation, an amateur astronomer noticed heavenly phenomena in the same reg
Where there is will...Where there is will...4 years ago in Articles & Interviews More Like This
Where there is will, there is pain
Timo is 22. He used to do gymnastics in the Finnish national team. He wouldn't let something little come in the way. It's not that he is a perfectionist, he just wanted everything. Or at least a Masters of Science and to be a top athlete.
Then Timo got an ear infection, not exactly a major illness, but that's when things started to go wrong. After a few weeks of tinnitus and antibiotics he got well again. Almost. He was more tired than usual and started struggling with brainfog.
Six months later the doctor of the Olympic committee diagnosed Timo with mycoplasma, a bacterial infection which is usually only a short-lived problem, but sometimes becomes chronic. The first round of antibiotics tided him over for 2-3 months, the second for a month. The third one no longer did anything.
This was in 2007. Despite not feeling well Timo spent the summer training, hoping to be among the three athletes to gain the coveted spot in the Word Championship team. Train
The GhazalThe Ghazal12 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
The Ghazal is an adaptation of a Persian form of poetry used to honor emperors and noblemen. A part of this poem broke off and evolved into the Ghazal. It is not a very commonly used English form as it was introduced only recently.
The Ghazal is a string of 5-15 couplets, with each couplet being able to stand alone as a complete thought and/or poem. At the end of the second line of every couplet is a 1-3 word long refrain. The word before the refrain is a rhyme that carries through the entire poem. A rhyming scheme would look like that: AA, BA, CA, DA, and so on.
The first and last couplets are special. In the first couplet, called matla, the rhyme is used in both lines. Often in the last couplet, the author's penname is used. The last couplet is the most personal one of the poem, and expresses something from the author's point of view.
Here is a Ghazal by Erin A. Thomas.
Once bright homes in blossom, now dead fallen,
They lay by the spinning blade's head fallen.
Death Comes HalloweenDeath Comes Halloween6 years ago in Horror More Like This
Robby dashed to the next house with his skeleton mask bouncing on his face. He turned to his friend, Max, who wore a striped shirt and an eye patch.
Hey Max, if I get more candy than you, I get a shot with your sister, Cindy.
No way, dude.
Robby pressed the doorbell as he rocked on his toes. The door began opening. He shouted with Max, Trick or Treat!
Hi, fellas, an oaf of a man said. Hold on a second.
Robby stuck his head inside as he waited. Max grabbed his shoulder.
And The Clock Ticks On . . .And the clock ticks onAnd The Clock Ticks On . . .7 years ago in Horror More Like This
As a man like silk and ash sits contemplating the ornate linen of his table, tracing the patterns of an ivory napkin with his butter knife. Back and forth and round about, the swish of cloth and silver echoes between the chairs, frolicking with the oscillation of candlelight on knife and chair-back, while the mans face glows in the dim like polished alabaster.
Across the empty expanse of the table sits a woman, bent rapt upon the inspection of her empty china. She has the look of a mannequin posed for photography, hands folded tidily upon her lap, lips more silent than dust in an empty attic.
They are utterly alone.
Satine, love, says the man, shattering the heavy silence into near-tangible fragments. Should you fancy the opera tonight?
There is no response from the woman, though a glimpse through the shroud of her parted gold hair shows a look of unwavering contempt.
You cannot still be mad, love? entreats the man
FuelHorace Windsor stood bundled and shivering against the passenger door of his sleek black Rolls Royce. A cigarette was clenched between his bluish fingers. He exhaled, a shaky stream of frozen breath and toxic smoke hissing from his teeth. Christ, it was cold.Fuel6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Come on, come on," he chattered as the ancient gas pump chugged at a painstakingly slow pace. The numbers on the meter showed little progress. If not for his damned wife, he could have just stayed in the car. Four days of tedious corporate meetings and he was expected to make the three hour journey home without a single cigarette? "It will ruin the interior, Horace," she had scolded, "We only just bought the car last month." On any other day, he would have rebelled, but he didn't feel like putting up with her nagging after returning home from such a long week. He just wanted to get home and sleep in his own bed. The hotel had had an
VisionsThere's a saying among my people. It was something about how you have nothing to fear from a pond full of leeches, how it's not the pond's fault. I used to remember it a lot more clearly, but that was before the loss of cohesion.Visions4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The elders say I was sent as a warning of things to come. The medicine man never said much of anything. He waved his bones and feathers and trinkets around, he lit his grasses and fanned his smokes, and after singing his songs he just stared at me with a deep pity shining out from under his skeleton make up.
I am subject to visions. They are sudden and striking and painful to the point of debilitation. When they come, my senses stagger and die off. There is always a great sound like a huge zipper being pulled, and as it unzips, all other noises fade into nothingness. Gray static envelopes the edges of my visual field and creeps slowly and deliberately in, turning my surroundings to an indistinct slate.
I discovered this gift when I was fourteen. A robber had b